Is Your Biological Clock Ticking Out of Time?
What time do you naturally like to go to bed or wake up? Do you feel that you’re at your best when you go to bed late and sleep until noon? Or do you love waking up to watch the sunrise? What many don’t realize is that every individual has a biological clock, which is called the Circadian Rhythm, and whenever possible, it’s important to embrace it.
Disruptions in your clock can cause sleep deprivation and problems with your health. This was the topic of M. Okawa of the Shiga University of Medical Science in Otsu Japan in his address at this month’s Educational Symposia on Sleep and Biological Rhythms, and is published in the 2011, Japanese Society of Sleep Research Report, Sleep and Biological Rhythms.
By looking at biological rhythms in children with brain damage, much useful information of the development of the circadian system has been gleaned. Blind children as well were studied and it was found they tend to show a higher rate of rhythm disorders than sighted children. The study also examined elderly patients and determined they have a reduced tendency to sleep at night and difficulty staying awake during the day, especially those with dementia. They discovered several reasons, from sensory deprivation and low light levels, to lack of social stimulation and physical and mental exercise.
Traditionally, night owls — those whose minds are alert through the wee hours of the night and sleep in through the morning — have had more difficulty conforming to the typical American 9am to 5pm schedule, whereas “Morning Larks” had no problem. But besides the struggle of waking up to an early alarm clock, the health consequences from sleep deprivation due to a biological clock disruption can be severe. It can lead to obesity, hypertension, depression, diabetes, and even an increase in risk for dementia.
According to another study from Sydney University/RPA Hospital in Australia, 16% of Australians who work shifts are affected by biological clock disorders, and 30% of frequent flyers experience jet lag. The concern is that today, circadian rhythm sleep disorders are becoming more and more common and they believe it’s due to our 24/7 society, citing the statistic that at least a third of developing country’s work force are now needed for 24 hour a day, 7 days a week work shifts.
If you feel that you may be suffering from a disruption in your biological sleep clock, it is important that you get it diagnosed. Schedule an appointment today for a sleep test at REM Sleep, the diagnostic branch of Eos Sleep.
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